Thursday, December 13, 2007
We are writing this prior to the release of the Mitchell report and we are bit saddened that baseball has come to this. Why did players, who were the very best at their position, team, division and in some cases, their league have to take a drug to become even better. It wasn't enough that they made it to the big show. They had to be show stoppers as well. Big muscle bound freaks that hit, pitched and played with prodigious ability that defied logic.
Why did we get to that point? It's not that we got bored of the way baseball was being played on the field. It was the way the game played out in the front offices. The strikes and hold-outs did make us mad, but we would have gotten over it eventually. But after those strikes, they took OUR game, the game we played on sandlots and urban streets and listened to on the front porches of America on transistor radios and turned it into a big-business empire. And that would have been OK too, but to fast forward the game back into the black, they (The Owners and Big Media) Rupport Murdoched (euphemism for sensationalized) baseball. And, we drank the Kool-Aid.
Why did they have to mess with the game? It was great the way it was. We didn't mind the many years that separated The Babe's records from Maris and Aaron, or that a Bob Gibson or Koufax came around every decade or so. In the 70's, the small market A's and Reds dynasties combined with the Royals AL West dominance, succeeded with speed, grit and hustle. Games were won with opposite field hits, sacrifices, bunts, Ricky Henderson stealing home and Pete Rose stretching a single into double. Yet, somewhere along the line, some front office guy decided that hustle was out and muscle was in and the next thing we know, we have a countdown graphic on ESPN for the Mitchell Report.
If there is anything to take from this, it's that there are never any substitutes for an honest, hard work ethic. The harder you work, the easier it can get...not always, but giving it your best, honest shot pays dividends after the baseball career is over and will make it easier to adapt that ethical standard in your work and with family and friends.